by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Parent volunteer Barbara Linssen shows the blueprint that suggests a time capsule from the 1930s might be hidden in the brick wall of Winterhavens gymnasium. As a morning elective class at Winterhaven School in Brooklyn this year, parent volunteer Barbara Linssen taught students about the architecture of their school.

As students combed through the blueprints, dated December 14, 1924, Linssen said they discovered something interesting in the “Cornerstone Detail” on the west wall of the school’s gymnasium. It was called a “Document Recess”.

So it was that standing in the gym on May 30, Linssen pointed up behind a basketball backboard at what appeared to be a piece of plywood covered with burlap.

“Not sure how it was attached up there, last time they put it back up – which, in all honesty, was probably 5 to 10 years ago,” Linssen told THE BEE. “Hopefully it pops off without too much struggle, and we can see what’s inside.”


Linssen said that she didn’t expect the original 1930s contents still in there, and believed those to have been donated to the Brooklyn neighborhood at some point. 

Her husband, Peter Linssen, mounted a ladder, pried off the cover, and felt around inside the brick-lined cavity.

Having prepared students and parents for the eventuality, no one seemed particularly let down when he reported that the “Document Recess” was empty.

But, with the help of her students, Linssen gathered current items of interest – including a school photo, a ceramic tile from an art project, a DVD of the school play held that year, and other suggested memorabilia.

With these new artifacts in a O-ring sealed plastic container, on June 13th Linssen placed this new “time capsule” in the recess. “This time, we will put a sign on the outside of the cover, with the date, so future Winterhaven kids know it’s there, and will know when they should open it next – 30 years from now.”

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